Hard work. Big Rewards. Bigger blessings. Life on a South Dakota ranch.
It pokes. It tears. It cuts. It rips. It scratches. Yeah, yeah… it also keeps the cows where they belong. But for goodness sakes! Ugh! Barb wire is my daily morning adversary. I open and close several barb-wire gates each morning while feeding. It definitely shortens the amount of time it takes to do chores if the person in the tractor doesn’t have to get out to open the gate to the hay corral, get back in the tractor and get out some bales, climb back down out of the tractor to close the gate, get back in the tractor to drive to the feed ground…. you get my drift. I try to keep the gates open and ready to the hay corrals and to the right pastures, and then go back and close the gates behind the tractor. And for this ranch wife, not much is worse than opening a gate where the top wire at the gate post is barbed wire and not smooth wire.
The weather has been warmer the last couple of days. Yesterday morning I had my coat unzipped for a bit as my layers were getting a little on the warm side. Then it happened. It bit me. The damn barb bit me. Good fences and good gates are stretched tight. If you are one of the big strong men around here you can walk up, put your hand on the gatepost, and just with one push get enough slack to open the gate. Now I’m no slouch. Matter of fact I like to think that I’m fairly strong. However, we have gates that require me to reach around the gatepost and grab the fence post in order to pull them close enough to make enough slack to take the wire off and open the gate. So picture this if you will… walking up to a gate post, wrapping your arm around the gate post (the one in the picture to be exact), and those damn barbs biting right through your sweatshirt. Yikes. The picture is true. NO RANCH WIFE EVER asked that the top wire closest to the gate post be barbed wire. I’m serious… NOT EVER.
The picture below, on the other hand, shows a great, ranch-wife friendly gate. This gate never bites me. See the SMOOTH wire leading up to the gate post? See what good men there are around here? They fixed this gate and pieced in a piece of smooth wire at the end of the barbed wire. See that! There is smooth wire close to the gate post. This is the place where my arm, arm pit, and other anatomy pushes. Now that’s love!